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Give your child an early start in the water

Give your child an early start in the water

Learning to swim is not only an important skill for your child, but it’s great fun too –there’s nothing like a dip in the pool on a warm day. But what’s the best way to support children learning to swim if they’re water-shy, and what’s the right age to start? Read on to find out how to teach kids to swim in a way that gradually builds their strength and confidence in the water, and don’t miss our fail-safe steps for washing swimwear!

Introducing your baby to the water (0-1 years)
Making water fun and familiar for your kids will help them to feel confident and undaunted when it’s time to start learning to swim. This can begin when your child is just a baby – make bath time a fun and happy experience with bubbles and games so that they begin to form positive associations with water. There’s no need for formal swimming lessons when they’re less than one year old, but you may like to introduce your baby to a quiet swimming pool and enjoy some gentle splashing and bobbing around.

Preparing your kids for learning to swim (2-3 years)
Between two and three years of age, your toddler will still need your support in the water, but there’s lots of ways you can start preparing them for learning to swim. Try the following activities when discovering how to teach kids to swim:

  • Blow bubbles. Encourage little ones to blow bubbles underwater, so they learn how to get their head wet without swallowing water.
  • Play ball games and introduce them to a float. This will allow them to practice kicking with their legs while adding a little extra security.

Even if your toddler seems confident in the water, always keep a very close eye on them and have your hands ready for support at all times. Learning how to teach children to swim is something that requires a lot of concentration – from you and them. Make sure you always put safety first and if you want your kid to practice learning to swim at the beach then start by paddling in rock pools or shallow water. Check the safety of beaches before you visit too.

How to teach a child to swim (4+ years)
Kids are able to start keeping themselves afloat and can begin learning different swimming techniques from around the age of four years old. If you choose to enrol your child in a swimming class, take them to the swimming pool beforehand to familiarise them with it. You can even play some games, practice floating and get them to dip their head underwater. Gauge how happy and confident your child is in the water – if they still seem nervous, try having a few extra practice sessions with them before they join the class for children learning to swim.

How to wash your children’s swimwear
With all this swimming practice, you may find that your child’s swimming costumes soon start to lose their appeal. Stop your kids’ swimwear from discolouring and losing its elasticity by following these steps after every swim.

  1. Rinse the swimsuit thoroughly with cold water immediately after use, to remove excess chlorine, salt or sand.
  2. Add OMO detergent to a sink of lukewarm water, making sure that you follow the bottle’s dosage instructions carefully.
  3. Soak the swimsuit for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and gently squeeze out excess water. Avoid wringing the material, as this can damage the elasticity of the swimwear.
  5. Hang the swimwear to dry out of direct sunlight.

Part of knowing how to teach your child to swim is knowing how to care for their swimming costumes and apparatus so don’t neglect this step when returning form lessons! If your kids love being active and can’t get enough of the outdoors, why not read our article on top five outdoor activities for Kids for more fun inspiration.